By Ji Da-gyum
January 29, 2024
A North Korean flag flies among flags from many nations participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics at the PyeongChang Olympic Village in Gangwon Province, Feb. 2, 2018. (AP)
Seoul will be home to the first-ever government-run center dedicated to shed light on the North Korean regime's human rights abuses and violations and enhance public awareness of the issue, the Unification Ministry announced Monday.
The Yoon Suk Yeol government is actively working to establish an inaugural public center, forming a crucial component of its comprehensive strategy for addressing the harsh realities of the human rights situation in North Korea.
The Unification Ministry officially signed a land purchase agreement with the Seoul Housing & Communities Corp. on Monday for the construction of the National North Korean Human Rights Center.
Spanning a building area of 2,400 square meters, the center is scheduled to be established in western Seoul's Magok-dong in Gangseo-gu by 2026.
The center is set to serve as a key hub for exhibitions and experiential programs designed to deepen public awareness of the human rights situation in North Korea, according to the ministry.
"The center will present North Korean human rights issues as matters of our own concern, not merely external problems," the ministry said. "It is positioned to play a symbolic role, akin to a declaration of human rights, conveying domestically and internationally that human rights are universal values."
The budget allocated for 2024 is set at 4.6 billion won ($3.4 million), constituting a small portion of the overall project cost of 26 billion won earmarked for three years to 2026.
This year, the ministry will prioritize the formulation of measures to create content that embodies the symbolism and representativeness of North Korean human rights, intending to install them at the center. Furthermore, concerted efforts will be directed towards establishing the foundational design framework for the center.
The ministry in January appointed the sculptor Yoo Keun-sang, who also serves as the president of the Institute for Art and Restoration in Italy, as a special adviser for the envisioned center's establishment.